Religion and most cancers prevention | RMHP


These days, most cancers is without doubt one of the most pressing well being issues worldwide: In 2018, it brought on roughly 9.6 million deaths. Moreover, its prevalence has risen inside the previous years,1 a difficulty that may change into much more extreme attributable to demographic ageing.2 At the identical time, an increase in most cancers sufferers´ survival charges is observable,3 a growth that preventive well being care has strongly contributed to.4 Generally, prevention is classed into three teams: Primary prevention goals to scale back the prevalence of an sickness; secondary prevention seeks to facilitate a well timed detection; and tertiary prevention goals to anticipate potential risks after the illness’s detection.5 Among most cancers prevention, some examples for secondary methods are cervical screenings and mammograms. Usually, these providers are supported by state well being programs, as they’re confirmed to be efficient.6–8 In Germany, all these screenings are coated by statutory well being insurances. Despite these efforts, the usage of preventive most cancers medication is fairly low,9 in comparison with the rules of the World Health Organization which have been developed by Wilson and Jungner.10

To sort out the present underuse of most cancers screenings in numerous nations,9,11 analysis has targeted on the determinants of utilization, usually counting on the Andersen mannequin of well being care utilization.12 This theoretical framework teams the unbiased variables into three completely different classes, that are predisposing traits (eg, age and gender), enabling sources (eg, revenue and sort of medical insurance), and want components (eg, well being standing). Among the predisposing and enabling classes, the next age,13–15 being feminine,9 and higher educated16 have been revealed to extend the likelihood of most cancers screening utilization. However, these outcomes will not be undisputed, as a variety of research recognized opposite results amongst age and gender.17,18 Apart from that, there are additionally want components which are associated to the usage of most cancers screenings: A poor well being standing,17 well being circumstances13 and a household most cancers historical past19 are positively related to the utilization of preventive most cancers screenings. Some different research, notably those that concentrate on psychological components, depend on the well being perception mannequin.20 They acknowledged that a greater data of the illness21 and decreased loneliness, greater cognitive well-being or shallowness and decrease social exclusion have been related to greater most cancers screening utilization.22

Several research have proven an affiliation between faith, which often is classed as a predisposing variable within the Andersen mannequin of well being care utilization, and the usage of preventive medication,23,24 in addition to the usage of most cancers screenings.25–31 This may additionally contribute to explaining the decrease most cancers mortality amongst individuals who steadily go to worships.32 However, findings concerning the utilization usually differ, as some research discovered faith to be positively related to secondary preventive most cancers medication utilization,28 whereas some didn’t reveal a big affiliation,31 and a few even revealed a adverse relationship.25 The uncertainty concerning the affect of faith on most cancers screening use is additional elevated by the diverging pathways that one may think about between these two components: On the one hand, the social and integrative side of faith might improve screening charges amongst spiritual people, as the next social help is related to elevated utilization of preventive well being providers.33,34 Furthermore, it’s hypothesized that spiritual people rating greater amongst character traits corresponding to conscientiousness, that are additionally associated to an elevated use of preventive most cancers medication.35 On the opposite hand, extremely spiritual people might have tendencies to distrust educational medication and subsequently have decreased ranges of preventive providers utilization.36 Though, to the perfect of our data, there isn’t a evaluate that systematically synthesized the proof on the affiliation between faith and the utilization of preventive most cancers screenings. Therefore, our goal was to summarize the prevailing findings of observational research (each cross-sectional and longitudinal). Such a evaluate may be useful to establish populations who’re vulnerable to underusing most cancers screenings, as faith is related to determinants of such an underuse: A stronger orientation in direction of faith has been proven to sort out lacks of information of preventive well being providers,37 that are among the many most essential limitations to most cancers screening uptake.15 In addition, our evaluate may assist to make clear whether or not spiritual environments and spiritual teams are acceptable goal locations for interventions, corresponding to info campaigns about most cancers screenings.

Materials and Methods

Our systematic evaluate is in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocols pointers.38 It is registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO, registration quantity: CRD42021229222).

Search Strategy and Selection Criteria

In June 2020, we searched three databases (PubMed, PsycInfo and CINAHL) for related literature. Therefore, we used a search algorithm which is displayed in Table 1.

Table 1 Search Algorithm

The screening was carried out in a two-step course of: At first, we carried out a title-abstract screening, and afterwards, the articles that had handed have been reviewed in full. Both the title-abstract screening (LB, BK) and the full-text screening (HRW, BK) have been carried out independently by two reviewers and relied on the inclusion and exclusion standards, that are supplied within the following paragraphs. Finally, the reference lists of the research which are included on this systematic evaluate have been investigated as properly. Disagreements between the 2 reviewers have been resolved by dialogue or by consulting a 3rd celebration (AH).

We included observational research (each cross-sectional and longitudinal) reporting the affiliation between any sort of spiritual dimensions, based mostly on Glock’s classification,39 and most cancers screening.

We excluded:

  • research not contemplating the connection between faith and most cancers screening
  • research solely inspecting a selected pattern (eg, sects or ethnic minorities)
  • examine design not observational
  • research not revealed in German or English
  • research not revealed in scientific, peer-reviewed journals.

We didn’t apply any restrictions regarding time or place of an article. Our inclusion and exclusion standards have been pretested by using them for the primary 100 articles of the title-abstract screening. However, they weren’t modified afterwards.

Data Extraction and Analysis

The information extraction was carried out by one reviewer (BK) and cross-checked by one other one (AH). It included details about a examine’s time and area, evaluation of fundamental variables, examine design, pattern, and key outcomes concerning the connection between faith and most cancers screening utilization.

Quality Assessment

Unfortunately, there isn’t a “mainstream” high quality evaluation device for research concerning the utilization of preventive well being providers, and even well being care use generally. For our functions, we used the guidelines launched by Stuhldreher et al40 within the improved model supplied by Hohls et al.41 The high quality evaluation was additionally carried out by two reviewers (HRW, BK). Again, ranking variations between the reviewers have been resolved by dialogue or by involving a 3rd celebration (AH).


In the next sections, we describe the outcomes of this systematic evaluate individually for spiritual denomination, religiosity, and spiritual attendance. This classification is oriented in direction of the 5 dimensions of faith outlined by Glock,39 with the dimension of perception being represented by denomination, follow by attendance and feeling by religiosity. Furthermore, one examine explicitly aimed to look at spiritual salience,26 the fourth of Glock’s dimensions. Finally, spiritual exclusivity, which can be known as “dogmatism”,42 is just not represented, because it was not investigated concerning its hyperlink to most cancers screening utilization. The key findings are offered within the textual content and in Table 2.

Table 2 Key Findings

Overview: Included Studies

The screening course of is displayed in Figure 1, utilizing the PRISMA 2009 Flow Diagram.43 After the title-abstract screening, full texts have been pending to be assessed for eligibility. Out of those, n=27 research have been included in our closing pattern.23,25–31,44–62 Three of the excluded ones weren’t observational. Furthermore, 9 different research needed to be excluded as a result of they didn’t report any relationship between faith and most cancers screening utilization. One article investigated faith as a perceived barrier to most cancers screening however didn’t regard its affect on most cancers screening utilization. Regarding our inclusion and exclusion standards, no articles needed to be excluded as a result of they weren’t using acceptable instruments to quantify the important thing variables, solely inspecting a selected pattern, or have been revealed in non-scientific journals or not in English or German language.

Figure 1 PRISMA circulate diagram.

Notes: Adapted from: Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG; The PRISMA Group. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLoS Med. 2009;6(7):e1000097. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed1000097.43 Creative Commons. For extra info, go to

Quality Assessment

The n=27 research which have been included in our closing pattern fulfilled between 80% and 100% of the factors in whole. However, among the many classes “missing data”, “sensitivity analysis” and “conflict of interest/funders”, solely 52%, 74% and 67% of the research met the necessities. Please take into account Table 3 for additional particulars.

Table 3 Quality Assessment

Religious Denomination

Overall, n=1523,25–27,30,46,48,53,55–57,59–62 of the 27 research included in our closing pattern reported an affiliation between spiritual denomination and most cancers screening utilization. Data got here from the United States (n=7), the United Kingdom (n=2), Palestine, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, and Singapore. More than two thirds of the research relied on a cross-sectional design (n=11), the opposite ones (n=4) had a longitudinal method. Regarding spiritual denominations, n=14 research investigated a (partly) Christian pattern.23,25–27,46,48,53,55–57,59–62 Hereby, n=9 research checked out Catholicism as an unbiased subcategory.23,26,27,46,53,55,56,59,60 As Protestants are a comparatively heterogeneous spiritual group that’s divided into numerous subgroups, this denomination was dealt with fairly in a different way among the many research: n=4 investigated Protestants generally.46,53,56,60 In sum, n=2 research differentiated between Mainline and Evangelical Protestants,23,26 one between Baptists, Methodists, and the Holiness motion48 and the opposite one between Presbyterians and Methodists.55 Finally, n=2 research regarded members of the Pentecostal motion,59,60 and n=1 rated Apostolic sects as an unbiased subcategory.59 In addition, one examine investigated members of the church of Ireland.55 Among different spiritual teams, n=4 articles included Muslims,30,46,57,61 the identical quantity examined Jewish individuals,23,26,27 n=3 research Buddhists,30,57,61 and n=1 examine Hinduists.61 Eventually, n=7 research explored the affiliation between spiritual components and the utilization of most cancers screenings amongst members of different religions,23,26,30,48,57,59,61 and n=8 research for non-religious individuals.23,26,27,46,48,56,60,62 Concerning preventive most cancers screenings, n=7 articles checked out mammograms or scientific breast examinations25–27,48,53,56,60 (ever: n=1,25 over the last three and a half years: n=1,56 over the last two years: n=4,26,27,53,60 over the last yr: n=148), n=6 research examined the usage of pap smears26,27,30,55,61,62 (actively attending it: n=1,55 passively attending it: n=1,55 over the last two years: n=2,26,27 ever carried out: n=330,61,62), n=4 research investigated self-breast examinations25–27,55 (performing it month-to-month: n=1,27 over the last three months: n=1,25 over the last two years: n=1,26 performing it: n=155), n=3 articles examined cervical screening46,57,59 (performing it: n=1,57 ever carried out it: n=246,59), n=2 research regarded ldl cholesterol screening23,27 (over the last two years: n=223,27), and n=1 examine checked out prostate screening over the last two years.27

As indicated above, there’s not a lot proof regarding the relationship of particular combos of non secular denominations and forms of most cancers screenings. Generally, there are not any combos which are investigated by greater than three research: An in depth presentation that studies the proof with respect to all combos is supplied within the Supplementary Material, the place we additionally present the related research. In this place, we solely goal to summarize the principle findings.

All in all, there are 53 combos between completely different Christian denominations and the utilization of various most cancers screenings. 16 of them point out a constructive relationship, six a adverse, and the remaining 31 a non-significant one. Regarding the distribution between the Christian confessions, there are 14 combos that seek advice from Catholics. Three of them point out the next use, two a decrease use, and 9 a non-significant relationship. For all Protestant individuals, eight out of 23 combos detect a constructive relationship, and one among them a adverse one. Here, it’s price mentioning that three out of 4 research detected an elevated utilization amongst Mainline Protestants, and 4 out of 4 a non-significant relationship concerning Evangelical Protestants. Nine combos have been examined with respect to Jewish individuals; six of them discovered an elevated chance of utilization, and none of them a decreased one. Among the six combos that thought-about Muslims, one discovered the next chance and three a decrease one. Buddhists have been investigated amongst three combos, of which two revealed an elevated and one a decreased screening degree. Eventually, all research that examined Hinduists (n=1) and members of different religions (n=7) didn’t reveal important relationships with most cancers screenings.

Importance of Religion

In whole, n=13 research23,25–27,31,44,45,47,48,50,52,54,58 examined the connection between the significance of faith, or the religiosity of a person, and the utilization of preventive most cancers screenings. n=10 research used information from the United States, n=1 examine from Canada and n=1 from Mexico, in order that a lot of the research have been positioned in North America. Apart from that, n=1 examine relied on information from Palestine. In whole, n=7 research had a cross-sectional design, n=6 a longitudinal one. Only two research used validated instruments to quantify religiosity: Christman et al31 employed the Duke Religion Index,63 and Melvin et al the Multi-Dimensional Cultural Values Assessment Tool.64 Most of the opposite research used a three-point scale (n=6);23,26,27,44,48,58 one a two-point scale (dichotomous)47 and one other one a four-point scale.25 Benjamins et al and Mitchell regarded objects that described the affect of 1’s religiosity on one’s well being beliefs.45,54 Lofters et al used principal elements evaluation to establish a profile that will apply to individuals being faith-driven,50 and Sen and Kumkale examined the spiritual locus of (perceived) well being management.58 Regarding most cancers screenings, the research investigated the usage of mammograms or scientific breast examinations (n=8) (over the last yr: n=3,48,52,54 over the last two years: n=3,26,27,58 over the last two years and likewise the 2 years earlier than: n=1,47 ever: n=125), ldl cholesterol screenings (n=4) (over the last two years: n=423,27,44,45), pap smears (n=3) (over the last two years: n=2,26,27 over the last three years: n=150), self-breast examinations (n=3) (month-to-month: n=1,27 over the last three months: n=1,25 over the last two years: n=126), prostate screenings (n=2) (over the last yr: n=1,31 over the last two years: n=127), and colonoscopy (n=1) (ever: n=145).

Once extra, the detailed outcomes with respect to the related research could be seen within the Supplementary Material. Regarding mammograms or scientific breast examinations, one out of seven research detected a constructive relationship with religiosity, and two a adverse one. Among self-breast examinations (n=3) and pap smears (n=3), one detected a constructive and one a adverse affiliation. For ldl cholesterol checks (n=3) and prostate screenings (n=2), there was one examine, respectively, that detected an elevated use in case of upper religiosity.

Finally, regarding the people that anticipated a spiritual locus of well being management, one examine discovered that they’d elevated probabilities of mammogram or scientific breast examination uptake. For this sort of screening, once more, and pap smears and colonoscopy, there was additionally one examine, respectively, that exposed a non-significant relationship. Lastly, one article revealed a adverse relationship between being faith-driven and the likelihood of pap smear utilization.

Religious Attendance

In whole, n=12 research examined the connection between spiritual attendance and the usage of preventive most cancers screenings.23,26,28,29,44,45,47–49,51,58,60 Once extra, practically all research used information from the United States (n=10), whereas n=1 examine investigated a German pattern, and n=1 a Mexican one. One half of the articles employed a cross-sectional design (n=6), the opposite one a longitudinal method (n=6). The frequency of non secular attendance was measured on two-point scales (dichotomously) (n=444,47,51,60), three-point scales (n=245,48), four-point scales (n=329,49,58), and five-point scales (n=323,26,28). In sum, n=1 examine investigated the frequency of collaborating in actions organized by one’s church, rated on a three-point scale,44 one other one the function of congregational help, rated on a four-point scale,45 and a final one requested whether or not a person was lively in its church neighborhood, other than simply visiting worships (dichotomous).47 The identical article additionally appeared on the existence of a church well being committee (dichotomous), and whether or not breast most cancers was an essential subject for such an establishment (dichotomous).47 Concerning most cancers screenings, the research explored the utilization of mammograms or scientific breast examinations (n=8) (over the last yr: n=1,48 over the last two years: n=5,26,49,51,58,60 over the last two years and likewise the 2 years earlier than: n=1,47 ever: n=129), ldl cholesterol screenings (n=3) (over the last two years: n=323,44,45), pap smears (n=3) (over the last two years: n=1,26 over the last three years: n=1,49 ever: n=129), self-breast examinations (n=2) (over the last two years: n=1,26 ever: n=129), colonoscopy (n=1) (ever: n=145), prostate screening (n=1) (over the last two years: n=151), both a Fecal Occult Blood Test over the last yr or an endoscopy over the last 5 years (n=1),49 and any most cancers screening (n=1) (over the last years: n=128).

All in all, n=19 combos between spiritual attendance and most cancers screenings have been examined, and n=13 represented a constructive relationship between these two. Meanwhile, the one examine that investigated the affect of non secular actions didn’t detect a big relationship, and one other one which thought-about congregational help revealed that this was negatively related to the uptake of ldl cholesterol screenings. Regarding the utilization of mammograms or scientific breast examinations, one examine appeared on the presence of a church well being committee, which had no important impact, and whether or not such a well being committee had breast most cancers as a precedence subject. If this was the case, the article discovered that the chance of mammogram or breast most cancers screening uptake surprisingly decreased.

For detailed outcomes, please take into account the Supplementary Material.


The goal of this systematic evaluate was to summarize the proof on the connection between faith and the uptake of most cancers screenings. Hereby, we included n=27 research investigating that affiliation.23,25–31,44–62

Regarding spiritual denomination and religiosity, there’s inconclusive proof on their hyperlink to most cancers screening uptake. Compared to members of different religions or non-religious people, (Protestant) Christians and Jews might need an elevated likelihood of most cancers screening use. However, apart from these denominations, a lot of the research revealed a non-significant function of non secular memberships. With respect to religiosity, most investigations didn’t detect a big affiliation both. However, the research that checked out spiritual attendance supplied fairly conclusive proof: Eight out of twelve research discovered a constructive affiliation between attending spiritual providers and utilizing any sort of most cancers screening, and there was no examine that exposed a adverse relationship.

For an additional examination of those three spiritual dimensions, a have a look at the three research that included all of them of their statistical evaluation23,26,48 may be helpful. Once extra, their outcomes differ in a number of methods: Katz et al didn’t discover a important affiliation for spiritual denominations, religiosity, or spiritual attendance.48 Benjamins revealed that elevated spiritual attendance and being a Mainline Protestant was associated to elevated odds of ldl cholesterol screening utilization,23 and Benjamins discovered being a Mainline Protestant or being Jewish, being spiritual, and attending spiritual providers to be helpful in direction of mammogram, pap smear of self-breast examination efficiency.26 Hereby, it also needs to be famous that Katz investigated a pattern of low-income, rural Americans, whereas each research by Benjamins used the nationally consultant Health and Retirement examine (United States).

Finally, it also needs to be talked about that people with extraordinarily excessive ranges of non secular attendance might not report elevated screening charges (eg, in comparison with people with reasonable ranges of non secular attendance), though greater spiritual attendance is usually related to elevated ranges of most cancers screening use. In Benjamin’s (2006) examination of self-breast examination utilization and Kretzler’s investigation that explored the usage of every kind of most cancers screenings collectively, the absolutely adjusted mannequin reveals a constructive relationship that vanished at very excessive ranges, like extra usually than as soon as per week.26,28 However, there’s a lack of research that regard these excessive frequencies.

Overall, our evaluate doesn’t present clear outcomes with respect to spiritual denominations or religiosity however detects a powerful tendency in direction of an elevated use of most cancers screening attributable to spiritual attendance. Previous analysis developed a number of pathways that describe how this issue can result in greater most cancers screening utilization. Firstly, worships even have a social dimension, as one will get in contact with a neighborhood. Such a social community improve was discovered to be positively related to participation in gastric most cancers screening,33 in addition to social help generally.34 Secondly, the common attendance at spiritual occasions may be linked to sure character traits, like conscientiousness, which can be positively related to the utilization of most cancers screenings.35 Thirdly, as Benjamins hypothesized, it may be that these visits convey one in contact with the well being care system, in order that one will get to know the preventive screening alternatives and develops a perceived want to make use of them.23 This can be supported by research that detect a low data about most cancers screenings amongst a number of populations.65 Finally, spiritual attendance was recognized to be related to greater goal in life,24 which in flip could also be associated to the next diploma of most cancers screening utilization.66

Referring to the comparability of the research included on this systematic evaluate, there are a number of restrictions, though a lot of the research relied on North American information. First, the research checked out completely different sorts of most cancers screenings, like scientific breast examinations or pap smears. In addition, the recall interval for the screenings differed, not solely by kind, but in addition from “ever used”45 to “monthly performed”.27 The identical was true for the evaluation of non secular denominations, particularly Christians, which have been summarized into one group25 or investigated by way of as much as 4 subgroups.55 Eventually, the samples have been very heterogenous. While some research relied on nationally consultant samples,28 some others checked out particular populations, corresponding to feminine church members.47

The heterogeneity of the samples impacts the overall most cancers screening utilization ranges in addition to from an affect attributable to spiritual components. For instance, girls and older adults have been discovered to have elevated odds of present process most cancers screenings.15,67 In addition, people with greater revenue and a greater schooling are extra seemingly to make use of preventive well being providers as properly.16 As to psychosocial components, optimism and better shallowness could also be related to the next likelihood of collaborating in most cancers screenings, whereas loneliness and social exclusion may very well be potential limitations to screening use.22

The contemplation of current articles that study the affiliation between faith and the utilization of preventive most cancers screenings might present a number of options for future analysis. As already talked about, a lot of the research have been carried out within the United States, and lots of the remaining ones have been from high-income nations as properly. Especially for a correct comparability of the usually cultural affect of non secular denominations, it will be helpful to have additional proof from different nations as properly, because the affect of faith on society decreases notably in industrial nations.68 Furthermore, solely three out of 27 research included all of the roles of denomination, religiosity, and attendance of their statistical evaluation.23,26,48 Moreover, additional investigations on folks that attend spiritual occasions fairly often, eg, greater than as soon as per week, can be helpful, because the preliminary findings of the articles included on this systematic evaluate level to a vanishing affiliation with the elevated most cancers screening utilization.26,28 If this was actually the case, then it may also clarify why some research didn’t reveal a transparent function of non secular attendance amongst preventive most cancers screening use, because the folks that attend essentially the most type the exception to the rule. Finally, there have been solely two research that investigated health-related components of a church, such because the presence of a well being committee.45,47 To elucidate the pathway between spiritual attendance and most cancers screening attendance, extra investigations of this type may be useful. Furthermore, all research that examine spiritual attendance depend on Christian people. Here, it will even be vital to take a look at different spiritual denominations as properly. Moreover, longitudinal research on this space are required.

Some strengths and limitations of our systematic evaluate are price noting. To the perfect of our data, that is the primary systematic evaluate that summarizes the proof with respect to the affect of faith on the uptake of preventive most cancers screenings. Thereby, it focuses on empirical research that don’t examine particular samples, eg, populations with psychological ailments. A top quality evaluation was carried out by two reviewers, as examine screening and information extraction, to forestall from bias and supply a high-quality report.

However, there are additionally some limitations which are well-worth mentioning. Initially, we abstained from finishing up a meta-analysis as a result of heterogeneity between the research. Thus, this determination is supported by suggestions that regard this matter and understand incorrect estimations due these variations.69 In addition, we might not have exploited the complete potential of the databases we employed, as we didn’t use MeSH headings (PubMed and CINAHL) or the thesaurus gadget (PsycINFO).


Overall, the findings of the research included on this evaluate level in direction of a constructive affiliation between spiritual attendance and most cancers screening utilization. Regarding spiritual denomination or religiosity, the proof is kind of unclear. These outcomes match earlier findings concerning the significance of social components for an satisfactory use of medical providers.21,22 However, they don’t level in direction of an affect of faith itself on the usage of most cancers screenings. In sum, this data may also help in figuring out populations which are vulnerable to underuse of most cancers screenings and subsequently improve the ineffectively low screening charges.

Further analysis may lay its concentrate on inspecting the connection in lower-income nations and refine their evaluation of faith to make clear the affect of its completely different dimensions, corresponding to denominations, religiosity, or spiritual attendance


There is not any funding to report.


The authors report no conflicts of curiosity on this work.


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